Reign in Hell

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Reign in Hell
Cover to Reign in Hell #1.
Art by Michael Atiyeh.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre Superhero, horror, fantasy
Publication date September 2008 – April 2009
Number of issues 8
Main character(s) Blaze and Satanus
Creative team
Writer(s) Keith Giffen
Penciller(s) Thomas Derenick
Inker(s) Bill Sienkiewicz
Letterer(s) Steve Wands
Colorist(s) Michael Atiyeh
Collected editions
Reign in Hell ISBN 978-1-4012-2313-7

Reign in Hell is a 2008-2009 comic book limited series written by Keith Giffen, pencilled by Thomas Derenick, inked by Bill Sienkiewicz, and published by DC Comics.[1] The title is a reference to a line spoken by Lucifer in John Milton's Paradise Lost: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

Plot[edit]

During the events of Reign in Hell, the Underworld is thrown into a massive conflict as Neron and his generals are confronted with a rebellion led by Lord Satanus and Lady Blaze, the rulers of Purgatory. Neron soon discovered that the rebel demons were offering the damned hope, and that this was a powerful spur. Recognizing what would happen if the damned rose up against him, Neron has his consort Lilith, the "mother of all earthborn fiends," summon all vampires, ghouls, werewolves, and infernally powered humans to Hell.

This unrest in the infernal realm attracts the attention of Earth's mystics, who are concerned about the outcome and possible repercussions of the war. Many magically powered heroes descend into Hell and take sides in the conflict, including Zatanna, Doctor Fate, the Shadowpact, Zauriel, Sargon the Sorcerer, Ibis the Invincible, Black Alice, and Linda Danvers. In the series' backup feature, Doctor Occult also journeys to Hell but with ulterior motives—to free the soul of his beloved Rose Psychic.

Lobo, who is confined to the Labyrinth, Hell's prison, is freed as a result of the titanic battle between Etrigan the Demon and Blue Devil, a battle which results in Etrigan's temporary death at Blue Devil's hands.[2] Lobo eviscerates the spirit-form of Zatara (Zatanna's father) which forces Zatanna to destroy his soul rather than consign him to an eternity of pain and torment (In the Zatanna series, Zatara is later shown to have been saved by a demon who owes him a favor).

Lord Satanus reveals that he used the war to spread a modified viral version of DMN, the anagogic drug he had once used to destabilize Metropolis and confound Superman. This version of DMN is airborne and, when combined with the magical word "Shazam," it transforms Neron and all of Hell's demons into soulless humans, all except Lilith who was not a true demon. Satanus then decapitates Neron and takes over as Hell's ruler.[3] The Damned turn their rage upon the now human and powerless demons and imps, slaughtering them wholesale, and damning themselves anew.

Lady Blaze later takes advantage of her brother's momentary weakness during a moment when he allows Black Alice to touch him and sample his powers; this action shatters Alice's psyche and allows Lady Blaze to drain Lord Satanus' power and take the throne for herself. At the end of the series, the Unspoken Principium of Hell is revealed by Doctor Occult: "You can leave whenever you want."[4]

Collected editions[edit]

The series was collected in a trade paperback (ISBN 978-1401223137).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "2000s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "DC's version of Hell erupted into all-out war when the rulers of Purgatory, Blaze and Satanus invaded Neron's infernal domain. Written by Keith Giffen with art by Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz." 
  2. ^ Reign in Hell #1-8 (September 2008 - April 2009)
  3. ^ Reign in Hell #7 (March 2009)
  4. ^ Reign in Hell #8 (April 2009)

External links[edit]